IMPORTANT: for international travelers, please read and complete the International Students Travelling During COVID-19 – updated 210226. For up-to-date information on international travel requirements (testing, quarantine…) please access: https://apply.joinsherpa.com/travel-restrictions .
Independent Schools COVID-19 Update – May 21, 2021 (from Ministry of Education and FISA)
BCCDC Vaccination Information
BCCDC has released new materials following yesterday’s announcement about vaccines for 12-17 year olds:
- Summarized key information in a PDF for easy sharing: COVID-19 Vaccination Information – Children Aged 12-17
- Updated information about children and young people on the BCCDC website
- New FAQs on the BCCDC schools website re: vaccines for parents and students, school staff and administrators.
Updated information on how to register and book/attend an appointment for those 12-17 is available at: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/covid-19/vaccine
The Health and Safety section of the COVID-19 Operational Guidelines for School Districts and Independent School Authorities has been updated to include a link to the addendum to the BCCDC public health guidance for K-12 regarding mask requirements in schools that was posted on March 30, 2021.
Dr. Henry addressed K-12 specific data/information during her April 15th news conference. The key messages are:
- COVID-19 cases in schools reflect community transmission.
- Most cases of COVID-19 among students and staff are acquired outside of school in their household or community.
- When transmission occurs within the school, it is usually limited to one or two additional cases.
- School transmission does not appear to be a major driver of community transmission.
The PDF of the slides from Dr. Henry’s presentations are available here.
BCCDC Public Health Guidance for K-12 Schools and the updated Provincial COVID-19 Health and Safety Guidelines for K-12 Settings are on the COVID-19 safe schools website.
BC Centre for Disease Control
- Released its second COVID-19 School Sector Update, a monthly bulletin to provide regular updates about COVID-19 and K-12 schools.
- Launched a new K-12 Schools and COVID-19 website, featuring resources for families, staff and administrators. This includes a new resource to explain contact tracing in schools.
- There is also a listing of public notifications of school exposures.
- Provided new information on COVID-19 variants.
COVID-19 Safety & BC Schools: What we know so far
- Fewer school-aged children (5 to 18 years old) have tested positive for COVID-19 compared to adults. Younger children make up a smaller proportion of cases than older children.
- Serious COVID-19 outcomes are less common in school-aged children
- COVID-19 virus has a relatively low case rate among school-aged children
An infographic explaining this information is available here.
It is normal for viruses to change over time, leading to new versions or variants. New variants have been identified since the beginning of the pandemic. COVID-19 variants have been detected across BC, including some people who attend school. So far, these cases are only a small proportion of all COVID-19 cases in the province.
The new variants spread the same way as the original virus, but some COVID-19 variants spread more easily. Because of this, it is even more important to continue to follow the health and safety measures in place in schools. More information on COVID-19 variants is available here.
Living Safely in a Pandemic
Longer days and warmer weather are sure signs that spring holidays are approaching. While now isn’t the time to travel, there are many ways to safely enjoy spring holidays close to home. Visit the Safer Celebrations and Ceremonies page to learn more.
With so much happening and so much uncertainty in daily life, it’s normal to feel worried and overwhelmed. It’s important to look after mental health and well-being during COVID-19. Links to mental well-being resources for children, youth, parents and caregivers are available on the BCCDC Mental Well-being Page.
- The Kelty Mental Health Resource Centreoffers tips for caring for younger children, parents and caregivers.
- Foundry BCoffers support for youth 12-24 years old.
- Updated COVID-19 Health & Safety Guidelines: Based on feedback from the K-12 Education Steering Committee, the Provincial COVID-19 Health & Safety Guidelines for K-12 Settings have been enhanced to clarify requirements related to masks, physical activities, and off-campus settings. The BCCDC guidelines were updated February 4. They are available for viewing on the COVID-19 safe schools website.
- Daily health check app: The K-12 Daily Health Check website and app is an easy way to decide if your child should attend school based on their symptoms. It includes current health guidelines and offers an age-appropriate user-experience for K to 12 students. Bookmark the website: k12dailycheck.gov.bc.ca
- COVID-19 Testing Option for K-12 Students: B.C. has a COVID-19 testing option for school-aged students that involves swishing and gargling sterile salt water and spitting into a collection tube. Families and students can look at the testing information for children and youth, watch a video about what to expect and find information on how to get test results. Younger students should practice the mouth rinse and gargle technique at home with water at least two hours before going for a test.
- BC K-12 Education Restart Plan: Updates to five-stage planning framework
- Restart Plan Guidelines: for school districts and independent schools
- WorkSafeBC K-12 Education Protocols: Provides guidance and protocols for returning to operation for K-12 education providers
- The BC Centre for Disease Control’s COVID-19 dashboard: http://www.bccdc.ca/hea…/diseases-conditions/covid-19/data
- Covid-19 Public Exposures http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19/public-exposures
- Keep Learning: Provides learning resources and supports for K-12 students. This site is being updated as new resources are available. The French version of the website was recently launched.
- “7 Tips for talking to kids about COVID-19” poster on the Fraser Health website – https://www.fraserhealth.ca/health-topics-a-to-z/coronavirus/resources#.XqHcNc5KhPZ
- Information about COVID-19, including information for schools and families, is regularly updated on the BC Centre for Disease Control site: http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19/childcare-schools
- All joint statements from Provincial Health Officer Dr Bonnie Henry and Minister of Health Adrian Dix are posted here: https://news.gov.bc.ca/ministries/health
- The Provincial Pandemic Coordination plan: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/health/about-bc-s-health-care-system/office-of-the-provincial-health-officer/reports-publications/pandemic-provincial-coordination-plan.pdf
- KIDS and COVID-19 QA: http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/coronavirus-(novel)#For–schools–and–childcare
- Ministry of Health response plans – https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/about-bc-s-health-care-system/office-of-the-provincial-health-officer/current-health-topics/pandemic-influenza
- BC’s Response to COVID-19 website: Provides up-to-date non-clinical information on COVID-19. The COVID-19 app is available on Apple’s app store and the Google Play store. British Columbians can also use the new provincial phone service by calling 1-888-COVID19, available seven days a week from 7:30AM to 8:00PM, with information in over 110 languages. Specific public health questions re: COVID-19 should be directed to your local health authority.
Mental Health and Wellness Resources
There are many resources available, and we encourage you to explore to find the one that works best for you. Mental health and wellness are always important, and even more so in these challenging times. Please reach out if you need support.
- Compassionate Learning Communities – Supporting Trauma-Informed Practice
- Linda O’Neill – Trauma Informed in the Classroom
- Ministry of Children and Familes: Healing Families, Helping Systems
- Parents grade 1-6 https://www.anxietycanada.
- COVID-19 Youth Mental Health Resource Hub: https://jack.org/covid
- Grade 7-12 App https://www.
- Grade 9-12 https://www.anxietycanada.com/
articles/what-to-do-if-you- are-anxious-or-worried-about- coronavirus-covid-19/
- Grade 7 and Up https://foundrybc.ca/